Business Method Patents: More Evidence

Is this really what the patent system is supposed to protect? How does this promote a vibrant, innovative and competitive marketplace? How is this innovation worthy of protection, given that the incentive to develop the innovation is to make money? Shouldn’t that be the reward, rather than giving a quasi-monopoly for a good business idea? I hope Blockbuster fights this to the bitter end, and I hope that the courts finally wise up on this nonsensical extension of patent protection. [Man, an I crabby this morning] Netflix sues Blockbuster to shut online service [pdf]

The first patent, granted in 2003, covers the method by which Netflix customers select and receive a certain number of movies at a time, and return them for more titles.

The second patent, issued on Tuesday, “covers a method for subscription-based online rental that allows subscribers to keep the DVDs they rent for as long as they wish without incurring any late fees, to obtain new DVDswithout incurring additional charges and to prioritize and reprioritize their own personal dynamic queue — of DVDs to be rented,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit says No. 1 U.S. rental chain Blockbuster, which launched its online rental service in 2004, was aware that Netflix had obtained a patent for its business method and was seeking a second, but willfully and deliberately violated the existing patent.

Netflix, which is represented by the San Francisco law firm of Keker & Van Nest, is demanding a jury trial and asks that Blockbuster Online be enjoined from using Netflix’s business method and be forced to pay damages and court costs.

The WaPo’s Reuters article: Netflix may face tough fight in Blockbuster patent suit

MashUps Come To Software?

Cheerleading like this is always suspect, but I just got my offer of a Google Analytics account, so I can see that I have a lot (more) to learn about this: Software Out There Of the many interesting quotes, I found this particularly notable, as well as pointing out how much I don’t know about this:

At the Emerging Technologies Conference, held in San Diego last month, Ray Ozzie, one of Microsoft’s three chief technical officers, showed a prototype effort that uses the Windows clipboard, which moves data among different desktop PC programs, to perform the same function for copying and transferring Web information.

Mr. Ozzie, who used the Firefox browser (an open-source rival to Internet Explorer) during his demonstration, said, “I’m pretty pumped up with the potential for R.S.S. to be the DNA for wiring the Web.”

He was referring to Really Simple Syndication, an increasingly popular, free standard used for Internet publishing. Mr. Ozzie’s statement was remarkable for a chief technical officer whose company has just spent years and hundreds of millions of dollars investing in a proprietary alternative referred to as .Net.